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LONDON (Reuters) – HSBC has hired Justin Wu as its first co-head of climate change Asia Pacific to lead the development and implementation of the bank’s sustainability strategy in the region, a memo to staff seen by Reuters showed.
Wu will join HSBC on Sept. 5 from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, where he was the Asia Pacific regional managing director.
The hire is the latest in a series for the Asia-focused lender as it looks to build a ‘Sustainability Centre of Excellence’ to help the bank and its clients manage the global transition to a low-carbon economy.
“Working closely with our regional business teams, Justin will play a critical role in client engagement around transition plans and helping to create commercial transition/green finance opportunities,” Chief Sustainability Officer Celine Herweijer said in the memo.
Wu will lead the bank’s engagement with big companies, regulators and other stakeholders on climate transition, she said.
Wu will be based in Tokyo until mid-2023, before relocating to Hong Kong.
The process to hire another co-head of climate change Asia Pacific, with a focus on North Asia, and which will be based in mainland China, is ongoing, the memo said.
Earlier this year, HSBC – a major lender to corporate Asia – said it aims to cut emissions tied to loans made to its oil and gas clients by 34% this decade, part of efforts to set shorter-term emissions-reduction targets.
The move to expand its climate finance expertise follows a tough few months for the bank after the head of responsible investing at its fund arm quit after making a controversial speech downplaying the financial risks of climate change.
Also joining the lender from Bloomberg is Milo Sjardin, who will begin as head of climate analytics on Sept. 26, based in London and reporting to Herweijer, the memo said.
Sjardin will lead a new climate analytics hub focused on building models to generate the data and analytics needed by the bank and its clients to meet their net-zero goals.
Both Wu and Sjardin will join the sustainability team’s executive committee.
In addition, the memo said Susannah Fitzherbert-Brockholes had been appointed as director, sustainable finance to help develop the bank’s net-zero transition plan and incorporate it into decision-making processes.
Fitzherbert-Brockholes joins from consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she has helped advise government, businesses and financial institutions for the last nine years, the memo said.